I always think about my dad when Father’s Day rolls around. I guess everyone does in some way. But, as the special day nears this year I have begun to think about my role as a dad.

“Dad,” or sometimes “Pops.” I love hearing that from my daughter, Amanda. She’s been the apple of my eye since the moment I first laid eyes on her in the delivery room more than 30 years ago.

This is a big year for Amanda and her dear old dad. She’s getting married in just a little over two months and our relationship will forever change. It’s bound to be tougher on dad than it is on daughter. Or, then again, I can look on it as gaining a son rather than losing the one I loved first.

Some friends were kidding me recently that all I am required to do on wedding day is answer one question: “Who gives this woman to this man?”

I joked, “I’m not giving her to anyone.” In fact, in my mind, I’m only sharing.

The response was quick. “You will say, ‘Her mother and I,’” one friend blurted out with more than just a little smugness.

I’m not sure I can say just that. Oh, Nathan, the fiance’, and I have had the talk. He passed, so I don’t intend on asking questions or going off on a long discourse at the ceremony. But, shouldn’t a dad who was there for the first diaper change get to say a little more than four words? 

I’m the one who taught her how to ride a bike and catch a ball. I’m the man who carted her off to ball games, the golf course, and fishing when she was just a toddler just because she wanted to go with daddy. 

I put up with piano, dance and cheerleading. I slept little during sleep overs and carted her off to baby sitting locations when she wasn’t old enough to drive. 

I cried, make that sobbed, at Memory Day, waved goodbye on the first day of college, helped her move down the street for graduate school and across the country twice for jobs.

I’m the one she called and said, “Dad, I’ve had a wreck.”

I’m the one she called and said, “Dad, I just got a speeding ticket. What am I going to do?”

I’m the one she was talking to on her way home from work one night when she went, “Oh no. He’s got me. I’m about to get a speeding ticket.”

I’m the one she called and asked, “Dad, can you have your bags packed and come up for a weekend? A few moments later I found out we would spend a Sunday evening together at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisc. to watch the Packers and the Cowboys on Sunday night football.”

Do you guys know how hard those tickets are to come by? Getting tickets to an Alabama and Auburn game is a piece of cake compared to grabbing a pair of Packers tickets. And, she got them at regular price.

Sure, there have been a few disappointments along the way, but I’ve always been proud of Amanda. I believe she knows that I love her as close to unconditionally as is humanly possible and realizes that I have high hopes for this new chapter in her life. My love has never changed, it’s only grown deeper and though I long to go back to when she sat in my lap, I wouldn’t trade any of the experiences, good or bad, we’ve had together.

It will be hard for Dad to let her go. I promise, I won’t do it with a simple one sentence blurb that every other dad in the universe recites on wedding day. Now, I’ve just got to figure out what to say.

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